Christian Religious Education
What is Christian Religious Education?
(previously known as Bible in Schools)
Christian Religious Education (CRE) means learning to understand and appreciate the beliefs by which people live as an aid to the development of a student’s own beliefs and values. While acknowledging that there are other views about life that could have a place in religious programs, it is appropriate in New Zealand to give particular emphasis to the Christian faith, the Bible and the life and teachings of Jesus, because of their pervasive influence through our cultural heritage and history, and their continuing relevance.
Who is responsible for Christian Religious Education?
The Churches Education Commission (CEC) acts on behalf of Christian churches as the agency responsible for CRE in state schools. CEC volunteers are trained and accredited as CRE teachers and undergo police vetting. They are required to abide by CEC’s Code of Expectations for CRE volunteers and to teach from an approved curriculum
The Board of Trustees of each school, representing the views of the parents, decides whether to offer CRE.
What curriculum is approved by CEC?
CEC encourages all CRE teachers to use an educationally sound curriculum which uses the students’ interests and experience as a starting point in allowing them to learn by exploration and discovery. Lessons are non sectarian and respect students’ existing faith commitment.
The preferred and most appropriate curricula for use in NZ schools is CRE, published in Melbourne, Australia (designed for classroom use), and Life Choices written and published in NZ (designed for large group use). Some schools choose to use Connect which is published in Sydney, Australia.
Guidelines are provided in the Life Choices curriculum and for the CRE and Connect curricula so that each lesson can be related to the values and competencies found in the NZ Curriculum. WALTs (statements starting with We Are Learning To … / We Are Learning That …) are also provided for each lesson for teachers to use.
What models of CRE are offered in state schools?
CRE is usually conducted using one of two models. The model chosen reflects the needs and preference of the school and the availability of CRE volunteers.
A volunteer teacher is placed in a classroom and uses a curriculum particularly suited to the ages and abilities of the students in the class
A volunteer teacher, or a team of teachers combine together to present the lessons. This is typically conducted in a suitable large space such as the school hall.
The work of Chaplaincy is now run by The Lifewalk Trust.
Click here to view the Lifewalk website www.lifewalk.org.nz
Code of Expectations
for CRE Teachers
Accept and abide by the CEC Christian Religious Education policy statement. This includes undergoing training and accreditation. Voluntary teachers must also undergo police vetting
Teach from a curriculum. The CEC resources and encourages teachers to use an educationally sound curriculum which uses the student’s interest’s and experience as a starting point in allowing them to learn by exploration and discovery. The curriculum is Bible based. The preferred and most appropriate curriculum is CRE. For large groups of students “Life Choices” is also approved.
Recognise that in the classroom you represent all member denominations of CEC and teach the basic doctrines of the Christian faith without denominational bias Seek the Principal’s approval for any promotion of other agencies (e.g. Bible Society, World Vision, local holiday programs)
Teach positively. Present the Christian message with love. Use language students understand and not religious jargon
Accept that the purpose of CRE is create an awareness of the spiritual dimension and to impart knowledge of the Christian faith Volunteer CRE teachers are “seed sowers,” to enable the students to make informed choices without any pressure for commitment
Respect the variety of experience and beliefs represented among the students in the class (and their parents / caregivers). Christian convictions can be affirmed without denying the genuineness of the experience of others
Always be on time, and leave the class in a settled condition
If unable to be present, ensure that the relieving teacher has the appropriate lesson material and accepts the Code of Expectations.
Co-operate with the CRE Team Leader, Principal and school staff in every possible way
Abide by the school’s policies on behaviour management, discipline, safety and emergency procedures